The Masters Review Blog

Aug 24

Introducing the 2023 Novel Excerpt Contest Judge: Matthew Salesses!

That’s right: not one, but two judge announcements in one week. This announcement comes with a second announcement, which is that this year’s Novel Excerpt Contest will be opening one month earlier than in past years. The dates for this year’s contest are September 1 through November 12. No more worrying about getting your manuscripts together when you should be sitting down with your family enjoying your time off over Thanksgiving weekend! Salesses, author of The Sense of Wonder, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, and The Hundred-Year Flood will select the finalists for the 2023 Novel Excerpt Contest from a shortlist provided by our editorial team. The winner receives a $3,000 cash prize, online publication, and an hour-long agency consultation with a literary agent! Find all the details below or on our contest page.

Submissions Open September 1!

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About the Judge

MATTHEW SALESSES is the author of eight books, most recently The Sense of Wonder (Little, Brown, 2023), the national bestseller Craft in the Real World (a Best Book of 2021 at NPR, Esquire, Library Journal, Independent Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Electric Literature, and others), and the PEN/Faulkner Finalist and Dublin Literary Award longlisted novel Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. He also wrote The Hundred-Year Flood; I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying; Different Racisms: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinity; The Last Repatriate; and Our Island of Epidemics (out of print). Forthcoming is a memoir, To Grieve Is to Carry Another Time (Little, Brown).

Matthew was adopted from Korea. In 2015 Buzzfeed named him one of 32 Essential Asian American Writers. His essays can be found in Best American Essays 2020, NPR Code Switch, The New York Times Motherlode, The Guardian, Time, VICE.com, and other venues. His short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, PEN/Guernica, Witness, and elsewhere. He has received awards and fellowships from, among others, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Dublin Literary Award, Bread Loaf, Glimmer Train, Mid-American Review, and [PANK] Books.

Matthew is an Assistant Professor of Writing at Columbia University. He earned a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and an MFA in Fiction from Emerson College. He serves on the editorial boards of Green Mountains Review and Machete (an imprint of The Ohio State University Press), and has held editorial positions at Pleiades, The Good Men Project, Gulf Coast, and Redivider. He has read and lectured widely at conferences and universities and on TV and radio, including PBS, NPR, Al Jazeera America, various MFA programs, and the Tin House, Kundiman, and One Story writing conferences.


Each fall, The Masters Review hosts a call for novel excerpts! Writing a novel can be an arduous and lonely process, but we’re here to champion the great work being produced. Whether your book is not quite finished or ready to pitch, we want to read your words. For this contest, we’re looking for self-contained excerpts that display a strong voice, compelling characters, and carefully constructed narrative arcs. You may submit an excerpt from any section of your completed or in-progress novel, but choose wisely: a synopsis should not be required for understanding the excerpt. As always, we have no limitations on genre, though we are primarily interested in literary fiction.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submitted excerpts must be under 6,000 words.
  • Submitted work must be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs, social media accounts, and other websites. Previously published excerpts will be immediately disqualified.
  • The entry fee is $20.
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions are allowed, though each submission requires a $20 entry fee.
  • The winner receives $3,000; online publication; and a consultation with Halley Dunne Perry, a literary agent with The Hamilburg Agency.
  • The second- and third-place finalists receive cash prizes ($300/$200), online publication, and agent feedback.
  • If your submission is accepted or contracted elsewhere, please withdraw your submission on Submittable, or contact us otherwise to let us know the piece is no longer available.
  • We do not require anonymous submissions for this contest, but the judge will review the shortlist anonymously.
  • This contest is for emerging writers only. Writers with single-author book-length work published or under contract with a major press are ineligible. We are interested in providing a platform to new writers; authors with books published by indie presses and self-published authors are welcome to submit unpublished work.
  • International submissions are allowed, provided the work is written primarily in English.
  • All submissions must be double-spaced with one-inch page margins and use Times New Roman or Garamond 12 (or larger, if necessary).
  • Excerpts from novels under contract for 2023 or 2024 are ineligible, but novels under contract from 2025 and beyond are eligible.
  • The contest’s deadline is 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, November 12, 2023.
  • All entries will be considered for publication in New Voices.
  • Every submission will receive a response by the end of March 2024. The winners will be announced by the end of April 2024.
  • Friends, family, and associates of the guest judge are not eligible for this award, nor are past winners of the Novel Excerpt Contest.
  • A significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor.

 

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